PRIMARY BIODIVERSITY DATA: Standardized plant observations from specimens, plots, & traits

BIEN – THE BOTANICAL INFORMATION AND ECOLOGY NETWORK -Plots, Specimens, and Traits:  The BIEN working group’s central goal –  To integrate the worlds botanical data to deliver (i) data integration tools; (ii) standardized botanical observation records, (iii) geographic range maps for all species in the New World and diversity maps, (iv)  species lists; and (v) a species-level phylogeny for all of the plants in the New World.  This information will enable us to better understand the determinants of the past and present plant diversity, distributions and abundance. This knowledge is essential for predicting how species, vegetation and agricultural crops will respond to future climate changes as well as providing a more accurate baseline to describe many dimensions of plant diversity (taxonomic, functional, and phylogenetic) in the New World. The BIEN database provides a common schema for merging georeferenced observations of individuals and species from specimens, vegetation inventories, and regional checklists, with measurements of species-level traits such as size, growth form, wood density, specific leaf area, etc. Currently these primary data are available only to members of the BIEN working group. However, our goal is to make available via this website any data whose owner is willing to make public access. We are currently working on securing distribution permissions. Derived products such as species niche models and range maps will also be made publicly available through the BIEN website.

However, you can request access and read more about BIEN and data access here.


SALVIAS – THE SALVIAS VEGETATION INVENTORY DATABASE – The SALVIAS vegetation inventory database (; GIVD ID 00-00-003) is a compilation of 13,661 vegetation inventories from around the world, with emphasis on the Americas. 12,962 inventories from the USA are shared with VegBank (; the remaining 699 inventories are mostly tropical forest plots from Mexico and Central and South America, and are available only via SALVIAS. The majority of the plots unique to SALVIAS contain individual measurements of trees, shrubs, lianas and hemiepiphytes, rather than aggregate observations (counts or percent cover). The two most common methods represented are 0.1 ha transects with a minimum stem diameter of 2.5 cm (523 plots) and 1 ha tree plots with a minimum stem diameter of 10 cm dbh (63 plots). The SALVIAS database also contains a taxonomically-standardized version of the Alwyn Gentry Forest Transects, also available in its original form for the Missouri Botanical Gardens website . Access SALVIAS data hereCITATION


SUMMARY PLOT ABUNDANCE AND FUNCTIONAL DATA FROM THE SAN EMILIO LONG-TERM TROPICAL FOREST DYNAMICS PLOT – List of species inhabiting the San Emilio tropical dry forest. Abundance values are given in units of density and biomass for both 1976 and 1996. Rank scores for both years are also indicated. Plant functional group classifications, when known, are also provided: Architecture (n = 122; U = understory, SC = subcanopy, C = canopy), Leafing (n = 111; D = deciduous, EG = evergreen), Succession (n = 113; P = pioneer, ES = early-succession, EM = early-to-mid succession, M = mid-succession, ML = mid-to-late succession, L = late-succession. Data from Enquist and Enquist (2011) Global Change Biology.

BIEN – THE BOTANICAL INFORMATION AND ECOLOGY NETWORK – Plots Currently, BIEN3.0 contains ~ 500,000 standardized plots from across the globe. We are working with iPlant to make these data available to all. Currently these primary data are available only to members of the BIEN working group. However, you can request access and read more about BIEN and data access here.


BIOMASS ALLOCATION, ALLOMETRY, GROWTH DATA OF SEEDED PLANTS – This data set of leaf, stem, and root biomass for various plant taxa was compiled from the primary literature of the 20th century with a significant portion derived from Cannell (1982). This is a unique data set with which to evaluate allometric patterns of standing biomass within and across the broad spectrum of vascular plant species. Despite its importance to ecology, global climate research, and evolutionary and ecological theory, the general principles underlying how plant metabolic production is allocated to above- and below-ground biomass remain unclear. The resulting uncertainty severely limits the accuracy of models for many ecologically and evolutionarily important phenomena across taxonomically diverse communities. Thus, although quantitative assessments of biomass allocation patterns are central to biology, theoretical or empirical assessments of these patterns remain contentious. Data tables from Cannell (1982) are provided as companion documents.

– LEAF ALLOMETRY DATA – INTRA AND INTERSPECIFIC SCALING OF LEAF AREA, MASS, PETIOLE, AND TISSUE DENSITYData for 622 leaves in 21 species ~30 leaves per species. Data are from Price and Enquist (2007) and can be found here.

– SONORAN DESERT PLANT ALLOMETRY: SCALING OF BIOMASS, COVER, HEIGHT, CANOPY DIMENSIONS AND BASAL STEM DIAMETER. Data for 1,538 individual plants native and dominant in the Sonoran Desert around Tucson Arizona. Data are from Price and Enquist (2006) and Price (2006; Dissertation). A .csv file can be found here (Price_Enquist_Sonoran_Biomas_Data) but please contact if interested in using.


The worlds trait data need to be free . . . the lab offers many differing plant functional trait databases and repositories and we are working to release and make available as much as possible.

  • BIEN – THE BOTANICAL INFORMATION AND ECOLOGY NETWORK – TRAITS – currently the BIEN network contains plant trait data from multiple literature sources, our respective research groups, and publicly available trait databases. In total,  34 plant functional traits consisting of 296,958 separate botanical observations. A total of 52,363 species within BIEN2 have at least one recorded trait value. Our trait data collection focused on trying to compile twelve core traits ( including the specific leaf area, the quotient of wet leaf area and dry leaf mass, seed size, wood density, and leaf stoichiometry), as these traits have been highlighted in the literature as critical traits linking plant growth, survivorship, and reproduction (Westoby 1998; Wright et al. 2004a). These traits were also intensively informed with a minimum of 4,000 species per trait. The BIEN3 update will greatly expand the coverage of trait data. We are working with iPlant and TRY to formally release these data. However, you can request access and read more about BIEN and data access here.
  • GLOBAL PLANT TISSUE STOICHIOMETRY DATA COMPILATION – Are available here (from Kerkhoff et al. 2005) and here (from Kerkhoff et al. 2006). These data are a global data compilation detailing the N and P contents of leaves, stems, roots, and reproductive structures. In Kerkhoff et al. (2006) data include 1,287 species in 152 seed plant families. In Kerkhoff et al. (2005) data include a total of 2216 observations from 1054 plant species in 175 plant families, including angiosperms, gymnosperms and pteridophytes spanning all major growth forms. Also included are additional metadata for each observation including geographic location of . Data descriptions and detail are given in Kerkhoff et al. (2006) and in Kerkhoff et al. (2005). These data are also available via the TRY global trait database. You can view and access the TRY data compilation here as well as at the above links.

NSF MACROSYSTEMS DATA: Standardized tree, invertebrate, and soil microbial data across latitude

MACROSYSTEMS DATA – PLOT NETWORK OF STANDARDIZED TREE, FOREST, AND PLOT MEASURES ACROSS LATITUDE – A combination of standardized surveys in the field and controlled experiments in the field and laboratory measure diversity of three taxa — trees, invertebrates, and microbes — and key biogeochemical processes of decomposition in six forests distributed along a geographic gradient of increasing temperature from cold temperate to warm tropical. This ambitious, multi-pronged, highly integrated program of theoretical and empirical research takes advantage of the special expertise at the three collaborating institutions — James H. Brown and Bob Waide University of New Mexico, Brian J. Enquist, University of Arizona, Mike Kaspari and Joe Zhou University of Oklahoma. Currently we are archiving intra annual and annual measures of all trees within 35 standard 0.1 Gentry plots with annual and intrannual measures of tree size, growth, and mortality along with associated plant functional trait data and local climate within the LTER data repository via


  • STANDARDIZED GLOBAL TERRESTRIAL ECOSYSTEM WOODY PLANT NET PRIMARY  PRODUCTIVITY DATASETWoody plant biomass and production data comprising both above- and belowground components were compiled from multiple data sources including: (i) the Cannell data set that summarizes data from over 1,200 stands in 46 countries. (ii) the Luo  data set comprising data from over 5,000 forest stands across broad climate gradients in China; and (iii) we examined the primary references in recent publications and online data compilations and included data from 41 additional sites. Together, the compiled sites span most of the climate space in a plot of mean annual precipitation versus mean annual temperature. In addition, each site has detailed associated climate data as well as soil fertility information. This is the largest standardized global dataset for woody plant NPP for both above and below ground components.
  • WHOLE PLANT COMMUNITY BIOMASS, NPP, NUTRIENT DATASET – Whole community phytomass, nutrient, and productivity data from Kerkhoff et al. (2005).  Dataset consists of compiled data on standing phytomass, NPP and vegetation nutrient (N and/or P) content of whole plant communities from published sources. The communities span a variety of environmental conditions and functional types, from arctic tundra to tropical forests. Nutrient data were combined for all living vegetative components (i.e. roots, shoots and leaves, but not litter or reproductive organs) and divided by the total vegetation biomass to find whole-system nutrient concentrations.


LATITUDINAL RANGES FOR SPECIES OF PLANTS ACROSS THE NEW WORLD – Latitudinal extent of 12,980 species of woody plants (trees, shrubs, lianas) across North and South America.  Data are from Weiser et al. (2007). 

MICROBIAL AND PLANT PHYLOGENIES AND  DIVERSITY ACROSS AN ELEVATIONAL GRADIENT – To assess the generality of elevational diversity patterns and the forces that structure these patterns, we quantified both plant and soil bacterial diversity patterns along an elevational gradient in the Colorado Rocky Mountains.  Data are Newick Formated Phylogenetic Trees Used in This Study The sequences reported in this paper have been deposited in the GenBank database (accession nos.EU424348EU426543).